Squadra Coppi/Vapiano USA Cat 4s put in an impressive display of Vincere Insieme (winning together) and strength during at the club's Giro di Coppi in Barnesville, MD on Saturday, July 14th. The Giro di Coppi is known as a grueling, unrelenting race over the rollers of western Maryland. For many, this is a race of survival, a test of one's legs and will as it comies towards the end of the region's road season.
This year the team had seven Cat 4s registered with half of them doing the race for the first time. With a strict yellow line enforcement, Coppis began to move up to the front and try to take control. For half the race, the Coppi flotilla kept the tempo high at the front. The team worked well switching off and not panicking at any breaks knowing the undulating road would send them back to the peloton. The goal was to stay close to each other and provide a lead out to the strongest on the team in the end.
Into the last lap, the azzuri began to position themselves for the finish. Grengs and Russo held their position in the group at the front. A midfield crash at the final turn onto Barnesville Road disrupted the rhythm of the pack and the chances for DiFillipi and Eom to join up with Grengs and Russo for the finish.
Rising up towards the school, Russo attacked to get an idea of who was still in the race. He was reeled in as well as the counterattack. Then, they all settled in for the final 2K to the finish line.
At 200 meters, Grengs and Russo drove left, while the peloton stayed right of the center line. One rider on the right humped his stem, torqued his bars as he wound out his sprint. His rear wheel swept out the front wheel of a rider slight behind him causing a domino effect of bikes hitting the tarmac.
The crash signaled several to launch their sprint. Grengs countered and opened his sprint launching up the hill. Russo followed iin the hopes the instigators went just a bit too early. In an impressive display of willpower, the sprinters had enough Grengs and Russo to take the top podium finishes. Grengs was pipped at the line to end up in 5th with Russo on him in 6th.